Maniac Mansion’s Original Designs Takes Us to the Past
Ron Gilbert, who helped put LucasArts on the map with the likes of Monkey Island 1 and 2, has posted his original 1986 pitch portfolio for the classic point-and-click adventure, Maniac Mansion.
Posted on his Grumpy Gamer blog, Ron Gilbert told us all it took was an imagination and guts to start a video game project back in the mid-80s. Gilbert and Gary Winnick developed the pitch for Maniac Mansion using their minds, a typewriter and some hand-drawn artwork. During this time, games weren't necessarily "pitched" at Lucasfilm Games (the progenitor to the now defunct LucasArts), Gilbert and Winnick simply handed the packet around at the studio, took in as much feedback as they could and started the project on their own. Gilbert's packet shows how many things can get changed from its initial imagining to the finalized product and is an intriguing look into the creative process for a very innovative game.
Maniac Mansion helped revolutionize PC gaming and the point-and-click adventure genre when it launched in 1987. A number of similarly-playing adventure games spawned from its success, such as Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, all the way down to Double Fine Productions' Broken Age, which was released nearly 28 years after the launch of Maniac Mansion (Gilbert now works at Double Fine). Arguably, Gilbert, Winnick and Tim Schafer are the main reasons why point-and-click adventures are the treasures that they are today.
Here is Gilbert's original packet depicting his original ideas for Maniac Mansion with Gary Winnick (we have also provided a walkthrough video of the original title for the sake of comparison):